“Walk the Talk” Loses Credibility

There’s been a tremendous information infusion by the media on the subject of the current financial crisis facing our country at the moment. It’s all over the radio, television, magazines, newspapers, and Internet. However, I think it’s quite obvious that they’ve missed the boat … as usual. We’re not facing a financial crisis—we’re facing an obvious leadership crisis.

Morgan Stanley, AIG, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, and Freddie
Mac have dominated headlines for weeks now as they’ve lost billions of
dollars while providing golden parachutes worth millions to their leadership.
That’s a pretty nice reward for destroying a company and putting thousands of
employees out of work. CNN and Fox News both reported that President Bush’s most recent decision to assist these financial giants in their effort to stay afloat could very easily reach the trillion dollar mark!

What’s happened to the one time belief, respect, and practice of such things as a mission statement, vision statement, code of ethics, beliefs and values, code of conduct, and integrity? For instance, I did a little research and discovered the following information:

Lehman Brothers Mission Statement
“We are One Firm … defined by our unwavering commitment to our clients, our shareholders, and each other. Our mission is to build unwavering partnerships with and value for our clients, through the knowledge, creativity, and dedication of our people, leading to superior returns for our shareholders.”


AIG Code of Business Conduct and Ethics
It consists of 20 paragraphs for its executive staff.  Its six corporate values include respect, integrity and customer focus.

Merrill Lynch Code of Ethics
It consists of 12 long paragraphs.

Fannie Mae Code of Conduct
It consists of 26 long paragraphs.

Freddie Mac Mission Statement
It consists of six long paragraphs.

Morgan Stanley Code of Ethics and Business Conduct
It consists of 50 long paragraphs.

Now think about the concepts of walking the talk, closing the knowing-doing gap, and practicing what you preach the next time your organization discusses the need to conduct business in an ethical manner. It may sound like propaganda to some, and it may be ignored by others … like those once respectable, once successful organizations listed above. To avoid those deadly consequences, rethink the importance of walking the talk.

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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